The Consumer Impact May 17, 2024

The health and economic crisis across the globe has changed the landscape of the fragrance industry. The consumer mindset has evolved regarding the role fragrance plays in daily living. No longer a superficial tool of expression, fragrances are soothing partners rather than detrimental to the pocket.


The desire for freshness is strong among customers in personal care products. This behaviour can be fulfilled by using scent profiles from the food and beverage industry to evoke those same feelings.


A relaunch of discontinued products as limited editions can also prove to be a game changer. Customers associate fragrances with stories and memories and with a growing need for scents promoting a feelgood vibe, old fragrances can provide the ideal solution. However, this would require further market research to narrow down favourites based on region.


The changing market dynamic has also helped position fragrance as a sensory escape. The demand is for products that promote emotional wellbeing. Scents are often seen as self-care tools to enhance relaxation. To tap into this development, brands can introduce delicately scented products that cater to precise emotional needs. The idea is to provide a range of products to meet the desire for an indulgent and luxurious at-home self-care routine with therapeutic benefits. For instance, face oils enhanced with scent notes of essential oils such as lavender, orange, lemongrass, and green herbs have become increasingly popular. The desire for long-lasting fragrance is high for this customer segment. Research shows that a high concentration and slower dispersal of perfume oil deliver long-lasting results when compared with more traditional fragrances. Safety also plays a crucial role in customer selection. Customers are ever-more conscious of the ingredients in their purchases. Proof of safety is a must because customers need assurance before they purchase the products that they will not lead to any skin related issues. This demand for safety assurance has also resulted in a fondness for softer notes. The use of natural ingredients is also high on a customer’s checklist before they select products from the aisles.


Climate change has severely impacted the luxury goods industry, and in particular high-end perfumery. Unpredictable weather patterns have impacted raw material availability. Production slows down and costs rise dramatically because crops are either destroyed or become unsuitable for essential oil distillation. This also results in a price war with the big fragrance houses outbidding others to pile up their stocks. While logistical challenges hamper supply dynamics, climate change has highlighted the industry’s impact on the environment. Increasingly, customers wish to be responsible and tend to purchase products which are produced sustainably. They are also enticed by synthetic alternatives that offer the same aroma but without the need to extract unsustainable raw materials. This emphasises the importance for brands to adhere to eco-friendly guidelines and go beyond just basic packaging. The need for transparent communication is a must. Brands need to assure their customers that:

• The ingredients used are ethically sourced
• Sourcing locally is a way to promote sustainable practices
• Investing in innovative techniques encourages sustainability

Fragrances offer a diverse spectrum. Their unique and extensive profile range presents brands with distinctive market opportunities. Consumer engagement can increase greatly by tapping into recent behavioural trends. In the current challenging economic environment, customers need a slight push to invest in scented personal care products. The proposition needs to be compelling and entice the consumer with self-care rituals and personalised stories. The name of the game is perception, presenting brands with strategic opportunities to create and satisfy the needs of customers.